Potential clients often ask how preexisting child support orders are treated with regard to the calculation of child support. Preexisting child support orders are taken into consideration when determining child support. However, under Georgia law, there are specific guidelines in determining whether or not a preexisting order of child support actually qualifies for consideration in the calculation of child support in a new case, such as a paternity, legitimation, or divorce action.
The first factor to be determined is whether the previous order meets Georgia’s legal definition of a preexisting order. According to O.C.G.A. §19-16-15, a “preexisting order” means: (1) an order in another case that requires a parent to make child support payments for another child, which child support the parent is actually paying, as evidenced by documentation, and (2) that the date and time of filing of the initial order for each such other case is earlier than the date and time of filing of the initial order in the case immediately before the court, regardless of the age of any child in any of the cases.
An adjustment to the parent’s gross income will be reflected in the child support obligation if he/she has a qualifying preexisting order, as defined above, and the following additional requirements are met. In order to receive the adjustment, that parent’s preexisting order must have (1) actually been paid under an order of support for a period of not less than twelve months immediately prior to the date of the hearing or (2) such period that an order has been in effect if less than twelve months prior to the date of the hearing before the court to set, modify, or enforce child support.
In determining the dates of the preexisting order and the child support order in the current case, the courts will look to the date and time of filing with the clerk of courts of the initial order of child support in each case. Subsequent modifications of the initial order for either case will not affect the priority position established by the date and time of the initial order for each such case.
The maximum credit allowed for a preexisting order is an average of the amount of current support actually being paid under the preexisting order over the past twelve months prior to the hearing date. Payments being made by a parent on any arrearages
will not be considered payments on preexisting orders or subsequent orders and will not be used as a basis for reducing gross income. For further information on how a preexisting child support order will affect the calculation of child support in your paternity, legitimation, modification of child support, or divorce case, contact The
Faucette Law Firm LLC today at (770) 485-6620.